Sunday, August 30, 2009

Vidyah's up check de vidyah

Vi-dee-ooo! Finally got around putting this together.
Its got a kickass background song by "Sloche"(an obscure 70's Quebecer band) called "J'Un Oeil".

Got a new computer today, took me a while to configure the whole thing up until I could transfer the raw movie files from my old machine, edit them together as one video, render the thing, connect to the web and upload it. Heh.
Got a new compy to get rid of the overheating problems I had. I'm thinking they were due to my AMD processor getting old.

On the flipside it means ill prolly record more now that I got a better machine that doesn't show signs of internal hemorrhage as soon as I do more than 2 things at once on it. And now that I got something stronger I might just end up doing some 3d modelling, that would be rad.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Sweet vectors

I tried Illustrator's CS4 version (amongst other things) for the first time yesterday at college, and I just had to draw something.
So here's Pepito! The protagonist of Recessions' final version:

Here's his actual sprite for comparison:

Still working on the final battle. Its shaping up pretty well. Its looking raddd.
I hope ill finish it soon so I can work on less spoilery stuff that I can talk about in more detail.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Art got done

Did some more art! I added some colors to the characters in the cover image I posted on my last entry:

I began to put together the video recording of the process, Maybe I'll upload it tomorrow.

I also made a series of images for the same issue, in a sort of recruitment article. Each vignette represents a particular position in the journal's team. You can try to guess what each of them refer to. Id list them but I don't know what some of them are called in English and don't particularly feel like checking them out for now.

I did not record the drawing process on that one because of the overheating problems I mentioned in my last post, it was just too much hassle to take breaks to let it cool off at every 5 minutes.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Work on recession and college stuff

College has started again, which might slow down work on recession a little! But my schedule leaves me a lot of free time. I spent a lot of time this weekend on College newspaper-related work, like the cover image that I finished today:

It was fun enough to work on. I recorded the job with camstudio, I'll probably put it together as a video on youtube later this week. For now I got more stuff to finish for the paper. Working on this big picture up there made me realize how awkward I still am with a tablet. I couldn't keep a steady hand and it took a ridiculous amount of time to get clean lines and curves. The result is really messy, but you probably can't notice much with that shrunk down version (the real one is 5 times that size at full resolution)
Also my computer's overheating problems really showed when I was working on this. The combination of recording with CamStudio and drawing with the tablet (with pressure sensitivity etc) made my core temperature skyrocket. It reached 86 degrees at one point, and my core's maximum temperature is supposed to be 70. I took frequent breaks to let it cool off. I probably won't record tablet drawings again for some time, it's too much hassle to stop every 5 minutes.

Aside from that, I did some more work on Recession, the details of which I still cant really talk about in great detail, its all final battle and endgame stuff. I must have spent about 6 days so far on that. Especially for the visual side, its a very long job, and its still far from over. A lot of animation to deal with and very large sprites to produce. It is sort of frustrating to know most players might never get to see all of that work if the game ends up being too hard. It is also frustrating to know that I can't really showcase that kind of spoiler art, even though its the most impressive looking work of the whole project, by a wide margin! There is some of it I can show though, like this minor enemy that appears during the boss fight. Its shown here at 4X:

After that's done, I'll work on getting a fully playable but visually unpolished version as soon as possible so technical problems can be found early. The to-do list for the "fully playable" milestone:
-Finish the obscure endgame stuff (what im on right now)
-Place the new boss battles in the maze (for a big part of summer I scripted fun boss fights, tested them, but I never put them in their context)
-Build the saving system (didn't even start to work on this, not even sure how saving will work exactly yet)
-Rebuild an area of the maze that doesn't work (the factory. Not that youd know what I'm talking about, but its the factory.)
-Rebuild or populate some rooms that are boring
-Make up some system to deal with dialogues, and then place the main ones in the game. (the other secondary dialogues will be for later)
-Put up some temporary interfaces for the pause menu, game options, etc.
-Build the shop interface, just a functional one for now
-Finish the basic map display
-Probably forgot something on that list.

At this point the game should be fully playable from beginning to end, so ill put it out for testing to friends and on The Poppenkast and to others who'd like to help out.
Then I'll do a very long job of polishing the hell out of the visuals, mostly by adding unique scenery elements to certain rooms. Then I'll draw and implement the basic story of the game which is just told through a few storyboards at the beginning and end. Then I'll finally replace the temporary interfaces (like the pause menu) with the final prettier ones, and that should be it.

Absolutely no clue as to when that will all be done, though. Hopefully soon?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Art! Arty Shmart!

I decided I really should update this log more often with whatever I do everyday. Every time I think about doing that I promptly forget about it a day or two later.
Well here is one thing I finished today, an album cover for C-Jeff from
C-Jeff asked me to make something neat from this photo . I started out with just doing a color reduction, not really thinking about spending hours on making a whole pixel art piece from it but just make it look good, as I was already pretty busy with my own projects, but then as I cleaned up the result it went on and on, aanddd....

I ended up practically redrawing the whole image and spending more than a day on it, yayy. The longest part was probably to make out what the electrical pylon structure was supposed to be like. On the photo, its just a mess of black lines and the actual perspective is very hard to discern. Its not too hard for the lower levels of the iron bars, but as you get higher it turns into an absolute mess of black. I sort of half-ignored the model for the topmost part of the structure as a result. There are many bars missing and probably a few that are "connected" wrong but the result is fine looking. I'm not sure yet whether ill upload this on pixel joint yet.It does end up as pretty much a trace as far as the pose and big metal structure goes, but on the other hand there's much more work to this one than just tracing the model image.

On other news, RECESSION (the game):
Maybe some regular updates on how my big current project Recession is doing would be interesting. Except right now, the details of what I am working on is a lot of end-game spoiler stuff, so I guess its a terrible time to start doing this! Meanwhile I'll yap about what the game is currently like and what the game is shaping up to be and what is left to work on etc.

The game, as I explained a few times before in other entries, is closely tied to the theme of money. Originally it was a short and simple game made in a couple of hours for a poppenkast competition with money as a theme. It was a simple non-linear platformer with money and enemies spread about. In the game, almost any action except walking costs you money: Shooting, jumping, getting hit, using bombs, double-jumping. If your money gets below 0, you die. Note that in the newer version, instead of dying right away, you have a limited time to refund your debt (with interest) before dying. The game being much bigger required a much more forgiving way of dealing with debt!

The two main numbers to keep track of in the game is your current money (which serves as ammo, life and stamina all at once), and your money's exchange value, called RATE.

The RATE starts at 1.50, and that number multiplies any amount of money you gain. So the higher your rate, the more money you get. But the rate also DIVIDES any money you lose, so the lower your rate, the more you lose. The rate value goes down as you play the game, so as time passes, you get less money from treasures and everything becomes more expensive. The goal of that first game was to figure out where the best treasures are, and then figure out the shortest path possible to them, and then try to get to that big jackpot with a RATE that is still very high, while trying to keep jumping and shooting to a minimum. That early version of the game is available to download here, just scroll down to the games list below the blog entries.

The game was neat and I decided to make a bigger one with the same system. The bigger game was pretty much built over the smaller one, expanding on the maze and adding more paths and areas. I have been working on this new version since the beginning of summer now, and I think it could be done for September. A lot of the game is finished, but there is still significant things left to work out. Some things like saving and loading the game aren't made yet (it wasn't needed in the original game as it was beatable in just minutes), as well as many interfaces, dialogues still use placeholder message boxes, the game's mini map isn't made either. There is also some work left on finishing some of the paths of the maze. All of the boss battles except the final one are finished (and there are a lot of them too).

The biggest chunk of work left is going to be on the polishing of the game's visuals in general. Most of the game's rooms are almost featureless as far as visuals go. They don't look ugly and have tiles and all, but very few rooms stand out as nice-looking, or as having unique features. This is not a big problem for games in general I think, but I sort of want to go all out as far as art goes and add character to the maze's visuals, for instance by adding background elements that are unique to a room, like say a big statue or animated machinery or computers or a giant sleeping monster. This visual polish is probably the most time consuming task left on the project. I will also have to draw images for the game's introduction and ending.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Found an old game! Y'guys can play it!

I found an oooold game I made a long time ago, Sluggy's adventure (the first one)
I finished that about 5 years ago back in early 2004. It's the very first game I ever made, it introduced me to pixel art. The art really sucks, but heh it always does at first right?
I made the visuals and the game, and Erave made most of the music (I composed the main theme and he did everything else I think)

Some of the art was taken from other sources though. Like that terrible cloud background was part of a texture pack I think, and also there is an explosion effect that I took from the web. Some sound effects I got from sfx websites, and most I made by recording my voice and speeding up the result 3X.

Download Sluggy's Adventure 1

Also its FULL of bugs and problems. like, the backgrounds scroll based on your directional movement rather than from the movement of the view which looks really awkward. Collisions are based strictly on your vertical speed, so if you bump an enemy's noggin while going upwards it will count as getting killed. Etc.
And some levels reaally suck
And its frustratingly difficult because I had made it on a slower machine back then, so a consistent lag throughout the game made it easier for me when I tested it. As a result there's some very tight timing-based obstacles in there, and some levels are just ridiculous. The bosses on the other hand are really easy, I made them sort of as an afterthought, thinking hey my game has no bosses thats terrible *makes something worse than having no bosses at all*
Except the final boss is a tad better, he has a two-action pattern instead of repeating the same single attack over and over.

But hey it was my first project ever (not counting my early rpgmaker years, but I never finished anything with that anyways), and it wasn't easy to find! I didn't have the game anymore because it was on an old broken up machine, and most of the sites that hosted a copy of the game are either down or the link didn't work anymore. Most of these sites linked to the original download page at but this one is down as well since the site was redesigned. But luckily, a mysterious benefactor (that I will simply refer to as "Lucifer") still had a copy on his computer, which he gave me in exchange for my immortal soul and an exclusive sneak-peek preview of my upcoming game Recession.

Speaking of which, Recession is coming really soon! Just as the real Recession is dying down, too. I've been working on it NON-STOP for a big part of summer. Its gonna be an epic game, I'm putting a lot of effort in the visuals especially. I am thinking it might be finished by the end of the summer, depending on how many problems I encounter and, to a greater degree, my attention span. I have been working on this for something like 5 months now!

One last thing, I had made another game right after Sluggy's Adventure, a sequel interestingly named Sluggy's Adventure 2. I never finished it because I lost the source code while working on it, but it still had 20-something levels. I was trying to be fancier with my pixel art there, and it did look a little better already, though it is still very ugly by my standards today. I will put that game up in a next post.